SAN ANTONIO -- For the past 11 years, Sharon Moore has worked at the U.S. Army Environmental Command. Currently she serves as an environmental support manager with the Northeast and Europe Division.
Moore began working for USAEC as the team lead for natural resources within the Environmental Technolo
gy and Technical Services Branch. At the beginning of 2014, she moved on to the U.S. Army Installation Management Command G4, where she led the cultural resources program and provided support for the natural resources program.
Two years later, she moved to her current position at USAEC, where she gained additional experience working with various programs – including cleanup and the environmental performance assessment system or EPAS.
“During EPAS audits, I’ve primarily looked at installations natural resource and cultural resource programs. I’ve also supported the NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act], and noise media areas, and on some of the OCONUS [outside the continental United States] installations, I’ve done other media areas as needed,” said Moore.
Moore has provided program support all the way up the chain, from the installation level to the Pentagon. She was primarily focused on cultural resources, which she defines as, “historic buildings, historic houses, structures, objects, archaeological sites and collections, and in some cases, Native American remains.”
During her career, she worked with the individual state historic preservation officers, Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, federally recognized Native American tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and cultural resource managers at various military installations in the U.S. and Europe.
She also became a team member of a IMCOM working group comprised of cultural resource managers that are creating a tribal consultation handbook that will include federal regulatory requirements and recommended do’s and don’ts. The handbook will be geared to provide guidance on how to conduct meetings with tribes, respect their culture, and actively listen to their needs.
Moore explained that the challenges she faced when working with cultural resource management programs were not limited to effective communication with tribes.
“A lot of cultural resource laws are procedural laws,” she said. “There are certain steps you have to take in order to be compliant. However, there are no fines attached to non-compliance.”
In the absence of large fines within cultural resources, she’s found it can be difficult to emphasize the importance of compliance at times. Nevertheless, Moore made it clear that consequences still exist.
“You can get sued,” she said “You’ll lose in court if you’re not following the regulatory process and your agency procedures.”
Other challenges have included reduced funding and a lack of understanding regarding the importance of historic properties.
“There is a tremendous value there to folks’ culture and heritage that maybe doesn’t seem obvious,” Moore said.
She explained that people often tend to underestimate the significance of cultural resources, especially if they’re not impressive looking. “It might just look like a parade field and ordinary buildings, but at the same time it’s the site where the first military airplane in the world, piloted by Orville Wright, made its first flights.”
“As good stewards, we should remember that these resources don’t just belong to the Army. This is part of our shared U.S. history, and they belong to all the American people.”
Moore’s professional experience extends longer than her time spent working with USAEC. She earned a B.S. in Wildlife Biology at Texas A&M University and later completed graduate studies in anthropology and biology. Her wide range of interests and studies taught her how to be versatile early on.
“I learned to have a certain level of expertise in a lot of different areas.”
Even after beginning her professional career, Moore never stopped her efforts to learn new things.
“I earned a graduate certificate in conflict transformation from St. Mary’s University in 2017,” said Moore. “It was a program that examined various conflicts around the world, what causes conflict, and what you can do to try and begin to transform that conflict. Peace building, basically,” she explained. “It’s one of the things I may go back to after retirement from USAEC.”
She completed the certificate with the submission of her final project, which addressed how climate change can drive internal and global conflict. Throughout her career, Moore has successfully balanced her work life, personal life and academics.
Time management wasn’t always easy. You just have to do your best within the deadlines that are given,” Moore said.
Moore has accomplished much professionally and environmentally over the years, and she has had the opportunity to collaborate with many federal agencies.
“I’ve had some great experiences throughout my career. I’ve worked for the [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers. I’ve worked for the Navy. I’ve worked for the Marine Corps, and I’ve worked for the Army. I’ve also worked with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
When referring to one her best experiences while working for the Navy, she mentioned the, DOD Legacy resource management program, which was well funded by congress for several years. Its initial purpose was to provide support to bolster DOD installations existing conservation programs.
While actively managing Legacy projects, she worked alongside the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nature Conservancy. She traveled to Panama and Puerto Rico, where she worked with threatened and endangered species, such as manatees, and conducted rapid ecological assessments on the canal’s military training areas. Even after joining USAEC, Moore continued her collaborative work.
“USAEC allowed me to participate in a detail at the Pentagon, and to work directly with the Army deputy federal preservation officer to help craft some Army policy,” Moore said. “That was really awesome!”
Moore said the best experiences she had during her career occurred when she was collaborating with others.
“I think there’s real power in these collaborations between agencies when you’re working toward a particular goal, like a recovery goal for a listed species. You can really accomplish a lot.”
Looking back, Moore has many great memories to reflect on. Following her retirement, she’s made plans to catch up on her rest and spend quality family time with her two daughters. Nevertheless, Moore is motivated with a passion for cultural and natural resources, so she admits that it won’t be long before she gets involved in her local community and takes advantage of any opportunities dealing with conservation and preservation.
“If I really get bored, I’ll go on and try to get that master’s degree in international affairs,” she said.
Moore is excited for the future of USAEC, and advises new hires to “look for opportunities to learn something new and collaborate with groups.”
She believes that the opportunities for networking and partnerships within USAEC and with other federal agencies are endless.